No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 8 Wisconsin 34–21 to win its third consecutive Big Ten championship title at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night.
The Buckeyes rallied in the second half to take home the conference crown and make a strong case for holding their No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Wisconsin dominated the first half and looked like it could upset the Buckeyes. The Badgers opened the game with Jonathan Taylor’s 44-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Jack Coan showed off his wheels during a 14-play drive before adding his first rushing TD of the game with a 14-yard run.
The Buckeyes continued to struggle when quarterback Justin Fields, who was still wearing a knee brace after spraining his MCL two weeks ago, fumbled the ball in the red zone and Wisconsin’s Matt Henningsen recovered it on the Badgers’ 7-yard line. However, Ohio State’s defense put pressure on the Badgers, who couldn’t get in scoring position.
Late in the second quarter, Ohio State began to gain its composure and scored its first touchdown with J.K. Dobbins’s 2-yard run with 42 seconds remaining on the clock to narrow Wisconsin’s 14–7 lead. However, the Badgers responded with a score to enter halftime up 21–7.
In the second half, Ohio State quickly took charge and scored a touchdown on its opening possession. Jeremy Ruckert caught an impressive one-handed catch at the back of the end zone to bring it to a 21–14 game.
Ohio State added a field goal to narrow the Badgers’ lead before catching a break when the Badgers put together a 10-drive play only to miss a 48-yard field goal. The Buckeyes added another TD on Fields’s 16-yard pass to K.J. Hill to take their first lead of the night at 24–21.
Entering the fourth quarter, Ohio State held the momentum and added another score and field goal to settle into a 34–21 lead.
Heisman hopeful Fields looked completely different during the first and second halves of the game. He entered halftime at 7-for-14 with 127 yards and zero TDs. However, Fields took control in the second half by going 12-of-17 with 172 yards and three scores.
Coan finished the night with 232 passing yards and zero TDs, while rushing for 20 yards and two touchdowns.
On Sunday, Ohio State will find out who it will face in the Dec. 28 CFP semifinals. The Buckeyes are at risk of being knocked out of their top-ranked slot after No. 2 LSU made a strong case for leapfrogging them in the standings. Heisman frontrunner Joe Burrow threw four touchdowns during LSU’s 37–10 victory over Georgia to win the SEC championship title.
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